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Clean, simple card design

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Greetings fellow travellers!

I am designing a board game, both mechanics-wise and graphcially, though I am a real beginner at graphical design so I have outsourced some of the graphcial design, such as the game board and the cover image. What I do want to make myself though are the playing cards. I have been using a simple program since March to create cards, but I am going to use Affinity to create the final card design.

Since I am not very advanced, I want to stick to a clean and simple card design, and I still want it to look great! So I would be grateful if you just had a look at the attached cards and say what you think of them. There a five cards I am attaching, and their design is not completely uniform now. I am going to make it easier for you though - just answer the questions below, and then add more comments if you like.

1) The "Travels of Marco Polo"  card uses a different font - which font looks better?

2) All cards except "The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact" have a grey border around the main text body. Does it make a difference?

3) The text in "Travels of Marco Polo" is justified (it always takes up a full row) - which looks better?

4) Does the font-size matter?

5) The last card has a "secondary color" (grey) on top - some cards will have this. Would you rather have this somewhere else? (It cannot be below the header.)


If you made it through these points, or if you just don't like lists - feel free to add any other comments. Also note that some cards will have images, but some will only have quotes, and a big challenge is to find a quote frame that can be reused on all cards, regardless of the colors of the card. 

PS. The card icons on top are soon being updated and made more uniform!

Group 46.png

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Welcome to the forums @Kijoli

It’s difficult to give specific advice as we don’t know how the game works but I have a few tips, some of which may be useful:
1. If colour is important then you could try making it more prominent so the player doesn’t have to look for it.
2. Try finding the longest title and then using the point-size of that text for all titles.
3. Try putting the Action/Effect text in the same place on every card. That way the player will know where to look automatically after a little while.
4. Don’t leave too much white space unless you don’t have much choice.
5. Sometimes it is best not to repeat the same text, e.g. “Action:” or “Effect:” over many cards. Try using icons instead. (Also may make the cards easier to translate into other languages, if necessary.)
6. If a border around something doesn’t do any ‘work’ then leave it out.
7. Try, but don’t rely upon, using a slant on some things to see if it makes things look a bit more ‘dynamic’ (doesn’t always work).

I have attached a couple of very-quickly/crudely-created example cards. Neither is a perfect example but they might give you some ideas. (Ignore the icons and image used, they are just semi-random stuff I used as place-holders.)

Plenty of people will have their own ideas (and may think all of mine are terrible), so keep coming back to see other opinions.

Screenshot 2020-09-13 132502.png

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Thanks for the input! I presented a somewhat arbitrary selection of cards, so I understand if it's difficult to know what to make of it. Beautiful examples still! A couple of points if anyone else wants to comment:

- The cards have 3 different types of text: ACTION, EFFECT and - (dash), which means "direct effect". ACTION and EFFECT must always be above the image or quote, while the dash must be below it, for reasons of card management.

- The secondary color (above the icons) must sometimes be of a completely different color, because the game has a particular color scheme. This makes it difficult to put the two colors close to each other, in case they don't mix well! See attached image.

- The cards will be of playing card size, which means that the text in Garry's sketches above would be too small. And there will be a LOT of text sometimes! Still, the bigger the text, the uglier it tends to look. And while I like the idea of different symbols for different actions, the margin reduces the available space for text.


Now don't worry about my skeptical tone, feel free to share more ideas, anyone who wishes to! I attach a couple of images with a "typical" card structure, the way it will be for many cards, with actions/effects above, followed by an image or quote, followed by a dash (direct effect). 

secondary-color example.PNG

Edited by Kijoli
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After some experimentation I have now made a much better card design (though it can still be improved of course). Thank you Garry for pointing me in the right direction!

Come to think of it, the images don't fit perfectly into this new design pattern. What do you think? 



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Definitely goes the right direction, but it appears inconsistent (obviously I don't know the game mechanics or requirements so take this with a grain of salt)

- colored background seems to be intended for quotes/flavor text, so the action block on the marco polo card seems out of place

- varying sizes/positions of images and text blocks make the cards seem a bit chaotic

- I think the varying amount of functional text per block (1-8 lines) and your current use of flavor text (up to 8 lines) needs balancing so the cards are neither too empty nor too cramped, right now if I zoom your cards to realistic size the quotes are barely readable, regular text is on the small side of OK for my eyesight.

- if you color-code cards on the very top I'd personally do this for all types of cards, maybe use some mid/light grey instead of white but maybe that's only me


Overall it needs a consistent layout, so gewoonm's suggestion is a really good one. Just go get some ideas and try a bit what fits your requirements, then stick to that layout.

I also like GarryP's suggestion with icons instead of action/effect as text, provided there is not a large number of sub-types that requires a load of different icons.

I attached a few of my experiments, feel free to use and improve them if you like :)


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